English rock band Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds launched its ‘Stranded on the Earth World Tour’ with two disguise 4x4pro media servers driving big screen visuals.
The tour kicked off in Detroit in February and is now playing a series of European and UK dates. ‘Stranded on the Earth’ supports the band’s third studio album, ‘Who Built the Moon?’ released last autumn.
The creative vision behind the design of this tour was created by David ‘Fuji’ Convertino of The Floaty Robot who serves as the tour’s Lighting Designer and disguise operator. Fuji drew his inspiration from the silver screen; a scene in Alejandro Jordowsky’s ‘The Holy Mountain’ provided the concept of which the entire visual for the tour would be based on. “There was one image from it that looked like Radio City and the Hollywood Bowl merged together. Noel asked if we could do something like that as a stage design and that became the inspiration for the semi-circle screen masks.” explains Fuji, “I didn’t want anything to impede the semi-circle – even though right now we have straight trusses, if you block those it ruins the imagery. Instead of downstage truss, we have an open look and just side-light the band so everything is shadowed. I think it’s pretty cool that this was all based off just watching that movie!”
The tour design features a 40x28-foot upstage LED wall and two 16x16 IMAG screens. “The upstage wall has a drape to make it a semi-circle with lighting trusses arched around it to give a Hollywood Bowl-Radio City Music Hall feel,” says Fuji.
The 4x4pros, one master and one understudy, were chosen for their speed for content playback, integrating seven camera inputs and running Notch realtime effects. “It’s vital that everything stays in sync on the screen,” says Fuji, “and disguise has not missed a trick. The master 4x4pro inputs four chains to four inputs of a Blackmagic Design ATEM router while going across three outputs.”
After speaking with Control Freak System’s Michael T. Goodwin about how disguise could be configured to meet his needs for the show, especially for Notch effects, “disguise became the only product to use. It has the speed we need and is compatible with every screen set up when festival season starts.”
He credits a number of people with helping him choose and use disguise. “Smasher, U2’s Video Director, introduced me to disguise and Michael Goodwin designed the system. Andy Babin, the best Video Programmer I have ever worked with, spent a few nights teaching me how to use Notch and making Notch effects. Since this was my first venture with disguise I would have been lost without him.”
disguise’s SockPuppet feature has been a key factor in enabling Fuji to adapt the tour as required during its run. “This is a tour that can differ in venues and crew size, and I’m tasked with doing lighting and video direction,” Fuji says. “SockPuppet is fast and is set up for my specific use in terms of programming and playback.”
Fuji says disguise has been “brilliant” to use and gives a special shout out to the system’s visualisation capabilities, which are “great for showing the artists and content creator how things will look.”
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